SOUTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT CHANGES LAW ON DEADLINE FOR FILING LEGAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
The South Carolina Supreme Court adopted a new rule regarding the running of the statute of limitations in legal malpractice claims. In Stokes-Craven Holding Corp. v. Robinson, Op. No. 27572 (S.C. Sup. Ct. May 25, 2016), Plaintiff brought a legal malpractice claim against Attorney Scott L. Robinson, a partner at Johnson, MacKenzie and Robinson, LLC, related to an unsuccessful automobile fraud case. The malpractice claim had been filed four (4) months after a final appeal came down. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant attorneys because the filing was outside the three-year statute of limitations.
The South Carolina Supreme Court reversed, overruling Epstein v. Brown, 363 S.C. 372 (2005), and determining that the statute of limitations should not run in a legal malpractice case until the outcome of the appeal is known. The Court found that “the limitation period cannot start until the client has a cause of action that has accrued meaning an adverse verdict, judgment, or ruling against the client, which has become final after appeal. Therefore, the statute of limitations is triggered upon the occurrence of such an event.